Kern Co Pound Exporting Sick Dogs

The UC Davis Koret Shelter Medicine Program consulted on the troubled Kern Co pound in CA in 2008.  At that time, a report was issued which detailed, among other problems, lack of leadership and rampant disease at the shelter along with recommendations for how to reduce and prevent it.  Standard protocols such as the quarantine of new arrivals and examination/vaccination by vet staff upon intake were on the list.

Fast forward to 2015 and it appears as if disease is still rampant at the Kern Co pound and that few, if any, of the 2008 recommendations from Koret have been implemented.  A group that flies shelter dogs from the area to rescues elsewhere along the west coast recently suspended its partnership with the Kern Co pound after a number of the facility’s dogs were found to be sick upon arrival.  Despite all the dogs having health certificates from the pound’s vet, interim director Nick Cullen admits in an email that in fact some of the dogs had never been vaccinated “due to reported behavioral concerns”.  Three of the sick dogs died.

In response to the rescue’s refusal to take more sick dogs labeled healthy from Kern Co, Cullen has asked Koret to come around for another consult.  I guess he wants a current report to ignore because you know, ignoring the old one is so 2008/2009/2010/2011/2012/2013/2014.  Cullen also wants to reassure taxpayers that a cleaning chemical used for disinfection at the pound is being diluted correctly.  He had a consultant in on that one too.  So the disinfectant is being diluted correctly and apparently used to clean cages housing sick and/or unvaccinated dogs next to healthy ones.  Pound workers who are not on the vet staff are “examining” the animals and deeming them fit for transport, even if they are deemed unfit for vaccines due to behavior.  The vet is signing the health certificates and then the dogs are loaded onto planes and arriving with symptoms of serious illness.  It sounds shoddy, at best.

Like his predecessor, Cullen blames the public for the pound’s failures:

We are seeing an inordinate amount of illness in animals originating from Shafter, Mcfarland, and Arvin areas. Much of that is due to those communities being less involved in vaccinating animals with core vaccines.

Gee, if only there was some kind of magical way to make sure animals coming into the pound were vaccinated, even if their vaccine history is questionable.  If only there was someone at the pound who would take responsibility for that, somehow.  If only Koret would have told Kern Co about this in 2008 DOT DOT DOT.

(Thanks Clarice for the links.)

Florida Pound Oops-Kills Pregnant Dog Tagged by Rescue

Rosie, as pictured on Facebook.

Rosie, as pictured on Facebook.

A rescue group had committed to saving a pregnant dog called Rosie at the Sumter Co pound in Florida this week.  But pound staff killed her because of a clerical error.  She was supposed to be on the save list but got put on the kill list instead.  Oops:

A mistake was made by a very good employee,” Sumter County Public Works director Richard Baier said.

Gee, I hope they don’t have any really super good employees there.

It’s wrong to kill healthy/treatable dogs.  That right there should have been the staff’s first clue that a mistake was being made when Rosie was walked into the kill room.  It’s also wrong to kill pregnant dogs, causing their unborn pups to suffocate inside the mother’s belly.  That would have been a second clue for the staff that Rosie should not be killed.  But apparently staff at Sumter Co are accustomed to killing healthy pets, including pregnant dogs, and no one even hesitated when killing Rosie.

This is the problem.  It’s why we need systemic shelter reform in this country.

Rosie’s would-be rescuer shared her heartbreak on Facebook.  The county says it will institute a system of cross-checking in order to minimize oops-killings in future.  I guess this is where we’re supposed to be all yay.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Update on Greenville Co “No Rescue/No Adopt” Dog

Beanie

Millie (fka Beanie)

The dog at the Greenville Co pound who was labeled “No Rescue/No Adopt” by the vet was released last week.  A representative from SNARR pulled her.  I contacted SNARR for an update yesterday and received this response:

Millie (Beanie) is doing well! Other than being really arthritic and having a heart murmur and being blind and super old, she is a sweet sweet girl :-) Millie is very affectionate and loves to be held. Our biggest immediate need for her is a HOME ; whether it be a foster or an adopter. She is currently still in Greenville SC but we can easily bring her up North if need be. So if you know anyone who might be interested please have them contact me ASAP.
Courtney@snarrnortheast.org
Thank you !

Thank you irresponsible public, once again.

Greenville Co Pound: “No Rescue/No Adopt”

Injured dog ID #25277456, wanted by rescue, at the Greenville Co pound.

Injured dog ID #25277456, wanted by rescue, at the Greenville Co pound.

On Tuesday, March 31, an approved rescuer made multiple offers via email to the Greenville Co pound in SC to take dog ID #25277456. This was the response she received from the pound:

On Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 9:15 AM, petrescue <petrescue@greenvillecounty.org> wrote:

Not available for rescue or adoption.
she had a medical evaluation yesterday and her prognosis is not good.
The vet wrote NO RESCUE NO ADOPTS on her card.
This is the same dog you e-mailed about.

PetRescue
328 Furman Hall Road
Greenville, SC 29609
864.467.3983 (office)
864.467.3294 (fax)
http://www.greenvillecounty.org/acs

The rescuer responded:

Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 9:32 AM
To: petrescue
Subject: Re: Another Schnauzer AHHHH, lol

What is wrong with her? We will treat whatever needs to be treated? What age is she? I will take her no matter what.

Greenville Co pound’s reply:

From: petrescue <petrescue@greenvillecounty.org> Date: Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 9:34 AM
Subject: RE: Another Schnauzer AHHHH, lol

She cannot be rescued, per the vet.

PetRescue
328 Furman Hall Road
Greenville, SC 29609
864.467.3983 (office)
864.467.3294 (fax)
http://www.greenvillecounty.org/acs
petrescue@greenvillecounty.org

The rescuer did not give up and wrote to the pound again:

Sent: Wednesday, April 01, 2015 10:49 AM
To: petrescue
Subject: 25277456 URGENT!

I need to know what is wrong with this dog and if she needs medical care right away?
If the vet thinks she is bad off healthwise I want to get 2nd opinion from my vet. If it is the dog being scared issue, I will take her even if she is biting, we have that form for me to sign. Please do not let this dog be put to sleep without me knowing it, let me know what is going on. I am just worried about her that is all. I am ready and willing to help, I am not trying to cause a stir, I just want to help.

She received a response from the pound’s vet:

On Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 11:07 AM, petrescue <petrescue@greenvillecounty.org> wrote:

This dog has severe back issues. There are several collapsed disc spaces in the lumbar region and possibly in the thoracic region as well. There may be some calcified disc material in L3-L4 space. There is bridging spondylosis along a good portion of the spine as well as a likely fracture at the base of the tail causing chronic changes in that region. She has significant pain in her lumbar spine and is unable to walk normally. She has been started on pain management and steroids to try and reduce the inflammation in her spine. She is currently still on her stray hold and she is not available for adoption or rescue at this time. If after her stray hold her prognosis improves on the medication she may be available to an approved rescue.

Assuming she responds to her medication she will need to remain on strict cage rest and steroids for a minimum of 3 weeks. She is likely going to need pain management for the remainder of her life. There is a good chance that, if a disc hasn’t ruptured already, it will soon if she is allowed to run, jump, use stairs, climb, or have any excessive exercise. If she does not improve on her medication she would need a myelogram to determine the exact nature of her spinal disease and develop a treatment plan. Considering the extent of her spinal disease, though, she is unlikely to be a good candidate for surgery. For this reason, if her pain cannot be controlled medically, euthanasia would be her best option.

She will be reevaluated at the end of her stray hold to see if it looks like she could have a good quality of life on pain medication alone or if she will need more extensive diagnostics and care.

Dr. Teri Worl
Shelter Veterinarian
Greenville County Animal Care Services
328 Furman Hall Rd
Greenville, SC 29609

PetRescue
328 Furman Hall Road
Greenville, SC 29609
864.467.3983 (office)
864.467.3294 (fax)
http://www.greenvillecounty.org/acs
petrescue@greenvillecounty.org

The rescuer again pleaded to be allowed to help the dog:

Date: Wed, Apr 1, 2015 at 11:23 AM
Subject: Re: 25277456 URGENT!
To: petrescue <petrescue@greenvillecounty.org>, tworl@greenvillecounty.org

I am willing to help this dog. If euthanasia is her best option than no offense, I would rather be by her side with my vet than her to pass at the shelter. After her stray hold just please let me know we are willing and ready to help this dog. I think no matter the injury, temperament, or health of a dog, if you have someone that is willing to try and not give up the dog you should give them that chance. In my opinion NO ADOPT OR NO RESCUE should never be a option for any animal unless it is actually laying there passing away and you have no other choice. I am going to take this up with Paula Gucker on changing that policy. […] this dog needs someone to fight for her not give up on her!

Someone willing to fight for the dog instead of giving up on her.  Yeah, if only there was some kind of place like that.  A safe haven for lost and homeless animals where they could be sheltered and protected from harm.  Someone should invent that.

(Thank you to the shelter pet advocates who are trying to help this dog.  Please let us know if there are any developments.)

NYC Shelters Killing Animals People are Trying to Save

Sarge, ID #A1028331, on the kill list for today in Brooklyn, as posted on Facebook.

Sarge, ID #A1028331, on the kill list for today in Brooklyn, as posted on Facebook.

Even as New York City Animal Care & Control claims on its website that it has an 80% live release rate, rescuers and adopters complain that the shelter kills animals who have homes lined up as a result of the cumbersome and faulty process required to save animals from the kill room.  The complaint is not new but the NY Post ran an article on the issue this week, placing a spotlight on the problem:

Every night at 6 p.m., the shelter posts a list of “at risk” animals to be euthanized. Rescue groups and members of the public have until noon the following day to reserve them [via NYCACC’s online system]. But the “at risk” list was offline at least one night last week and several times in February due to technical difficulties. And the crashes have tragic consequences.

Remy was reserved via the online system by a rescuer one night last month who paid $52 for her via credit card.  When the rescuer arrived at at the shelter to pick Remy up, she was told there had been a problem with the paperwork and Remy had been killed.  Another rescuer reserved a dog called Lady last month but there was a problem with that hold too.  Lady was killed by shelter staff.

Another rescuer, who asked to remain anonymous, said she calls and sends e-mails to ACC staff after placing holds because she doesn’t trust the system.
“Frustrating things happen,” she said. “I’ve pulled two cats and gotten two different ones. I’ve pulled animals [that were advertised as] 3 years old and were actually 13 years old. “They always say this is because of computer problems,” she added.

When contacted by the Post, NYCACC refused to comment about the computer problems resulting in the needless killing of pets who had homes waiting.  But the spokesman did have a complaint to lodge:  the online system is often used to place “fake” holds on pets just to get them off the kill list for 48 hours.  Imagine that – people acting out of desperation to prevent animals from being needlessly killed at the shelter.  It’s as if the public actually cares about saving the lives of homeless animals.  But NYCACC isn’t going to be fooled into not killing animals and has designed the system to ensure that all animals with “fake” holds will definitely go to the kill room:

When the “fake” adopter fails to the show up within the 48-hour hold period, the animal is euthanized. During that time, a real adopter could have stepped in. But the online system doesn’t allow for a backup rescue after the deadline.

Evil.

Here’s a thought:  if the online reservation system is failing to save lives – both by accident and by design – and it’s evident that the public doesn’t want healthy/treatable animals killed at the shelter, maybe it’s time to consider ending the practice of killing animals and start doing the job of sheltering.  Make it NYCACC policy that no healthy/treatable animals are killed under any circumstances.  That way, it doesn’t matter if there are a hundred computer glitches a day because no animal is going to be killed as a result.  And the “fake” hold problem is eliminated by virtue of the fact that there is no kill list.  Problems all solved.

(Thanks Anne for the link.)

Rescue Group Denies Foster Family’s Request to Adopt

Kaiya at home with her family, including her photobomb cat, as shown on the WOWT website.

Kaiya at home with her family, including her photobomb cat, as shown on the WOWT website.

Most readers are probably familiar with the term “foster fail”, used to describe the situation which arises when an owner intends to provide a temporary foster home for a pet in need but ends up falling in love with the animal and deciding he can’t part with the pet.  It happens a lot, primarily because foster owners tend to be compassionate animal lovers and the heart doesn’t always fall in line with the head.  It’s a win for the pet since, instead of adjusting to a foster family then being placed in a strange home environment with a permanent adopter, she gets to stay with the family to whom she has already grown attached.  And it’s a win for the rescue group since it’s one less pet in need of advertising, transporting to adoption events and screening applicants for, potentially opening up a space for another animal in need.

The Wilson family in Omaha began fostering a senior dog named Kaiya for Golden Retriever Rescue in Nebraska (GRRIN) one year ago.  They opened their home and hearts to Kaiya and recently decided the bond they’d developed with her was too precious to break.  The family let GRRIN know they wanted to go ahead and officially become Kaiya’s permanent family.  But GRRIN denied the family’s request, without providing any reason, and the group’s president came to the Wilson’s home to take Kaiya away:

Roger Wilson even told the President he was filming a recent interaction when the President came to the Wilson home. The President can be heard on camera telling Wilson, “I’m not going to talk to you about this on camera, I’m here to transport Kaiya.”

The Wilsons had taken Kaiya to their daughter’s home ahead of the president’s visit in order to protect her from being taken.  They are vowing to fight for Kaiya:

“I’m not going to give her up,” said Wilson. “I’ll fight tooth and nail all the way to the end. The dog belongs with us.”

GRRIN’s president told WOWT that an 11 person volunteer board will hear an appeal regarding the adoption at some unspecified future date.  He refused to comment on any legal action the group might take to gain custody of the dog.

GRRIN’s online listing for Kaiya has been removed from its website but the cached version indicates the page was posted in May 2014 and reads:

I am a 7 year old sweetheart. Yep that’s me. I love to hang out, play a little, and cuddle. I do like to play with a ball or a toy, but mostly I like snuggling up. I have terrific house manners and have been trustworthy in the house. Sometimes I get a little frightened but you know how it is when things are new, they can be a little scary. I get along great with cats and am learning to like my foster dog buddy, and I might be ok around much older children. Fast movements can scare me a little. If you like to snuggle, I might be the girl for you.

GRRIN seems to acknowledge that Kaiya was frightened in the first few months while adjusting to her new home environment.  This would not be unusual for any foster dog, especially a senior.  The video accompanying the WOWT story clearly shows how comfortable Kaiya now is with the Wilson family.  But GRRIN apparently thinks it’s in Kaiya’s best interest to take her safe and secure home away from her and place her in another strange environment.  And they won’t say why.

It sounds like another case of a rescue deeming a home good, but not good enough.  In this case it’s particularly bizarre since GRRIN obviously believed the Wilsons were fine as a foster family for an entire year.  Does the group place foster dogs with people they feel are unsuitable to own pets?  Why was Kaiya’s adoption denied?  Is GRRIN one of those groups that believe that good homes need not apply to adopt pets?  A rescue group that doesn’t rejoice at a foster fail is puzzling, to say the least.  How many people, probably including the Wilsons, are learning about Kaiya’s story and deciding fostering is a terrible idea?

Further, this story is yet another illustration of why it’s so dangerous for pounds to send cats to rescuers without holding them first so their owners can reclaim them.  There is little to no legal accountability for rescue groups regarding adoption screening.  They can deny anyone a pet, anytime, for any reason – or as in Kaiya’s case, for no reason at all.  They can deny someone who has clearly been providing a loving, long-term home to a pet while refusing to discuss the matter. This is not what rescue is supposed to be.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

AZ Rescue Owner Charged with Felony Cruelty

Scott William Beadles and his wife reportedly operate a tax-exempt rescue called Furry Smiles in Buckeye, AZ.  On January 12, Beadles went to a Petsmart to pick up some kennels belonging to Furry Smiles and told an employee that his pitbull had gotten into a fight with a maltipoo at his home and that he’d killed the maltipoo:

The report stated that Beadles does not own a gun so he “put it out of its misery” by kicking and stomping its head.

The employee apparently notified police. With any luck, this is the most disturbing thing you’ll read today:

The employee told police that Beadles said the small dog was whimpering and trying to crawl to him when he decided to stomp its head until it was dead, according to the statement.

The Beadles’ landlord found the tiny dog’s remains in a trash can on the property.  A necropsy on the dog found puncture wounds and numerous fractures of the skull.

Beadles was arrested and charged with felony animal cruelty.

I wonder how many hoops applicants have to jump through in order to be approved to adopt a pet from Furry Smiles.

(Thanks Clarice for sending me this story.)

Rescue Group: I Will Hold You Back

Toto, a band well known for a string of hits in the 80s including the song “I Won’t Hold You Back”, was fronted by singer Bobby Kimball.  Kimball and his wife, Jasmin Gabay, formed a rescue group called Saving K9 Lives in California in 2011.  The group’s website has a number of pleas posted for more foster homes in the Los Angeles area.  Rescues typically ask for more fosters so that they can pull more pets from area pounds to save them from being killed.

Saving K9 Lives recently received an offer even better than a foster home – an area pet owner fell in love with one of the group’s dogs and offered to give the dog, called Eloise, a permanent, loving home.  Criss Keeler filled out an adoption application, sent photos of her home and of her 10 year old dog Finnegan.  She was initially approved for the adoption and was eagerly awaiting the arrival of her new family member:

The one remaining step was a home inspection to be conducted the day Saving K9 Lives Plus delivered the dog to her “forever home.”
According to Keeler, the trouble started the moment the group’s founder, Jasmin Gabay, stepped out of her car in front of the apartment building.
“She said ‘I’m just not comfortable in this neighborhood.’ That was kind of the first words out of her mouth. Not even ‘hi’ or anything,” Keeler recalled. “She then went on to say that if she had known this wasn’t West Hollywood, she wouldn’t have gone this far in the adoption process.”

Gabay took Eloise and left.  An hour later, Keeler checked the group’s website and saw that Eloise had been re-listed as a dog in need of a home.  She immediately emailed Gabay to again offer to give Eloise a good home.  Gabay replied stating that the adopters were good, but the neighborhood was not and therefore – no pet for you.

Gabay confirmed that she felt Keeler’s neighborhood wasn’t safe for Eloise. The rescue group founder also issued a written statement defending her group’s adoption standards.

“Our adoption process follows the standard of most rescues. There is an application requesting information, reference check, a phone interview, followed by a home visit. Home visits are an important part of the process,” the statement said.

“If an adopter has never had a five pound dog, they won’t know that the space between their fence and front gate is wide enough for that dog to escape. It’s our responsibility to look for any possible dangers before an adoption takes place and to work with an adopter to remedy those dangers. Of course we also endeavor to match our dogs to an adopter based on activity levels, long term medical needs, training experience and personalities. We have to consider whether a dog will do well in a home with small children and/or if they are compatible with the other animals in the home or if the dog can handle the new adopter’s work schedule.”

Right.  But none of those things were a factor here.  So I assume the only reason any of those issues are being brought up is because the first draft yo-hood-so-skanky didn’t pass muster with the group’s PR peeps.

So let’s tally up:

  • Saving K9 Lives prevented an adopter who wanted to rescue a dog in need from saving one.  Now that person may be soured on the process and will perhaps seek another source for a dog.  Maybe it will be a source we all think is wonderful.  Maybe not.  I’m guessing she’ll probably look for a source that isn’t so snooty.  I can think of several.  And she’ll perhaps tell her friends and family that applying for a rescue dog is a bad experience and recommend they find alternative sources for their next pets.
  • Saving K9 Lives prevented Eloise, who is in a foster home, from going to a permanent home.  Now Eloise is back in limbo instead of learning to feel secure and comfortable in her new life.  But at least she doesn’t have to set her paws down on those inferior sidewalks in East Hollywood, I guess.
  • Saving K9 Lives returned Eloise to her foster home, which they say they need more of, so now there is no free space available there.  I’m sure the dogs currently waiting to be killed at area pounds all completely understand why Eloise had to take up that foster space.  It will surely be a great comfort in the kill room.

Everybody loses.  Congratulations.

Pets do not know or care about their neighborhood status.  They want to love their people and feel loved in return.  Eloise had a chance for that but was denied because of an unfounded bias against poor people.

Discriminating against “good adopters” because they don’t have a fancy zip code holds us all back.  If Saving K9 Lives truly wants to save pets from being killed at the pound, the group needs an attitude adjustment.  Otherwise, a name change may be in order – something like “Saving K9 Lives from Being Wrecked by Having to Suck the Same Air as the Poors” might more accurately reflect the group’s mission.

(Thanks Clarice for the link.)

Dallas Pound Secretly Kills Four Dogs Slated for Rescue

 Photo attributed to Deborah Whittington, as shown on the Daily Mail website.

Photo attributed to Deborah Whittington, as shown on the Daily Mail website.

Dallas Animal Services functions primarily as a pet killing facility, killing more than half of the animals taken in last year.  You don’t earn the moniker “pet killing facility” without putting forth some effort – specifically, killing most of the animals in your care.  There is not going to be a whole lot in the way of justifications for killing.  It’s just the thing you mainly do to your animals.

So hardly a surprise to read that on January 1, the Dallas pound killed 4 dogs who were slated for rescue.  The dogs were reportedly part of a larger group whom local rescuers were getting into foster homes after the owner reached out for help.  Rescuers say they in turn reached out to Dallas Animal Services for temporary assistance with 4 of the dogs in order to buy time to secure more fosters.  There was reportedly an agreement between rescuers and Dallas Animal Services that the dogs would be listed under “protective custody” which indicates a 10 day hold.  But at the pound, the dogs were listed as “owner surrenders” which indicates they are eligible for immediate killing, at the discretion of pound workers.  The pound housed the dogs for 2 days, then killed all 4, citing “health and behavior”.  When rescuers tried to visit the dogs a few days later, they learned of the killings.

Dallas Animal Services released this statement:

On Tuesday, Dec. 30, Dallas Animal Services officers picked up four dogs. The owner gave the dogs to DAS in hopes of finding them a new home. They ranged in age from about one to eight-years old. The officers took the animals to the City shelter, where they were entered into the system as “owner surrenders.” Two days later, on Jan. 1, all four dogs were euthanized by DAS staff based on their health and behavior.

On Monday, Jan. 5, community members said potential homes had been found for the dogs. DAS is now conducting a complete investigation to determine if system failures and/or performance issues may have contributed to the incident. Once the investigation is complete, we will share our findings and potential next steps.

Euthanasia of animals is tough enough for employees. To know that four dogs may have been euthanized in error has devastated staff, and they are also eager to look for ways to prevent incidents like this in the future. We mourn the loss of homeless animals that can be saved. DAS prides itself on caring for thousands of animals that staff members come into contact with each year. The City, DAS and community remain committed to our life-saving efforts and continued progress in this area.

Oh gee, I hope no one was swigging coffee when reading that part about being “committed to life-saving efforts and continued progress”.  If so, I hope your keyboard doesn’t stay sticky for too long.

Rescuers dispute the city’s claim that the dogs had behavioral problems requiring death and have filed a complaint with the city manager.  Dallas Animal Services is investigating itself in the matter.

Here’s the problem:  While advocating for the right that these 4 dogs had to live is a worthy effort, it does nothing to change the fact that Dallas taxpayers are paying for a “shelter” which primarily kills animals.  It does not alter the pound’s policy that owner surrenders are eligible for immediate killing, if workers so choose, without so much as a phone call, email or internet posting notifying anyone of the intention to kill.  This policy is entirely inconsistent with the “lifesaving efforts” the pound claims it is committed to and effectively dooms any animal listed, correctly or incorrectly, as “owner surrender” to the whim of whomever is making up the kill list for the day.  Pets whom the public is willing to save will continue to be killed under this system, as should be obvious.  And many more owner surrendered pets whom the public might be able to save if only they knew the animals needed help, will also continue to be killed.

Dallas Animal Services needs to immediately dispense with its killing for convenience policies and at the very least, adopt a slightly more progressive approach.  All animals, except those few deemed medically hopeless and suffering by a veterinarian, should be guaranteed at least a chance to survive the pound.  Killing animals without a minimum of 2 business days notice to the public should be summarily abandoned.  Advance notification to all interested parties, including rescuers and potential adopters, should be made in addition to the public notices posted online for each individual animal.

It is human nature to hide those things of which we are ashamed and thus we see so much secrecy in the kill rooms of our animal shelters.  But that doesn’t make it any less objectionable.  As taxpayers, we must demand our shelters do their jobs and actually shelter animals.  Those who refuse must be held accountable through transparent government policies and actions. If you can’t own it, maybe you shouldn’t be doing it.

(Thanks to everyone who sent me this story.)

Mailbag

Reader Tami writes:

Good news in cat rescue can be hard to find. The story of Julianne Westberry in SC has been particularly hard to swallow. She was trusted by so many. I worked side by side with her in the Anderson County Humane Society Spay/Neuter Clinic. She seemed to have a stream of foster homes and adopters. She was given the “Volunteer of the Year” award by ACHS in May 2014!  One month later, she was arrested for ill treatment of animals.

A passerby stopped to ask if the furniture on her porch was for sale. When the odor from inside, and the fly lined, paper covered windows were noted, authorities were notified. Authorities whose facility could be seen out the window of her house, less than 100 feet away!

Inside, they found 32 live cats, 37 deceased. More bodies were found by the owners of the rental house when they went in to clean up. It is believed, at least 25 more bodies. The true number of deceased may never be known. Many were so decomposed, they only way to know they ever existed was by fur and pieces of their tiny bodies. She pulled moms and kittens. Left them in their carriers. There, they died. One, Venus, was only ID’d by her microchip. I’ve seen pictures, not released to the public. Of the 32 survivors, 4 have since died. I have one, who was in some of the worst condition, in the care of my wonderful vets.

Thanks to the dedication of Ash Truesdale, volunteer with Foster Paws Rescue, it has been found that she pulled from 16 CONFIRMED shelters. In a little over a year, over 800 cats and kittens. She was using 3 different aliases. Her name, JW, J’s Kitten Cottage, and unbeknownst to them, the 501c3 of Anderson County Humane Society. She was accepting pledges for these cats. THAT may be the only way for these cats to get justice. Internet fraud.

It was also learned, many of the cats had been taken to her boyfriend’s farm. She lived there, most of the time. Those who have seen the farm give estimates of 70-300 cats that are alive. Others who died have been disposed of (so we are told). After JW was released, the boyfriend contacted Anderson County PAWS, the local impound, to owner surrender the farm cats. Anderson Co was given the go ahead to begin trapping. Cats would be trapped, taken to Anderson Co PAWS, and summarily killed. After all, they were “just cats”, not needed for criminal investigation and PAWS is “already full” from a previous hoarding /rescue that’s awaiting court. They don’t have the space, staff, funds, etc to save the cats.

Those following the case found out about Anderson Co’s plans on Wednesday, July 2. On Monday, July 7 at 6 PM, the cats would begin dying. “No exceptions”. 30 cats, already trapped and in custody had been given a death sentence. The facility would be closed on Friday July 4. Open for a limited time on Sat July 5.

Enter the “irresponsible public”…

Wednesday PM, July 2– much hand wringing and public outcry on the PAWS FaceBook threads as word spread.

Thursday, July 3– a meeting of about a dozen people. The only way to save these cats, these cats who had been promised a safe loving home, these cats who had already once escaped the needle or gas chamber, was to acquire a building. But we were going into a holiday weekend. People were out of town, businesses were closed. Ash knew folks would help, IF these cats could find safe haven (shelter) for a brief time.

Friday, July 4– Geneva Lawrence, a member of Kitten Action Team, spread the word. She had found someone to donate a facility for 6 weeks. Volunteers would be given keys at 5PM on Sunday, July 6. The cats HAD a building! An empty building.

Pregnant cat being sheltered by volunteers after being saved from the Anderson Co pound kill room.  [Photo via Facebook]

Pregnant cat being sheltered by volunteers after being saved from the Anderson Co pound kill room. [Photo via Facebook]

Again, the news was shared. A building was found. No cages, no food, no litter… The media was contacted. When the keys were handed over, a local news crew was there to document volunteers, with brooms and rags. Cleaning the building. Cages were loaned by multiple rescues. A wish list was set up. Amazon and UPS became aware of the multiple packages they would begin shipping. Transport from Anderson County to the building in Mauldin, SC was arranged for the cats. 

Volunteers were there on Monday, July 7 setting up for the arrival. Again, multiple news media were there. Currently there are over 50 cats and kittens. Kittens born at PAWS. Most of the females are pregnant. All are receiving care. All are alive. All of this, thanks to the public. As you like to say, the REAL humane society – small “h”, small “s” – wants to save lives. And they will.

Thank you Tami for sharing this good news and thanks to everyone who saved those non-evidence just cats from being killed at the pound.  Yay irresponsible public.

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